Elena Mihova


From the moment you are born the journey of life begins, and it starts in a particular place. The home you grew up in, the streets in which you played all day long, the knowledge about these spaces, and the memories they create. We can all relate to a place like this.  

To go back and reconnect with your origins is essential for a healthy state of mind.  Not having the chance to return home and reconnect with family and my roots has had a profound negative effect on my mental wellbeing.  This was the inspiration for this piece, creating a small piece of Bulgaria in England. 

My work represents a place from my hometown, Gabrovo, Bulgaria.  ‘Etyra’ is an open museum, in which one can experience traditional clothes, food, and crafts from the Revival period of the country.  My work is an attempt to capture this atmosphere, using themes of place and memory, as well as character, to inspire curiosity about my culture. 

Jake and Dinos Chapman inspired me to improve my technique and try to reach a more realistic look in my work. I have been influenced by the art of Maya Lin, a spectacular architect, and designer with unique environmental perception.  

Another influence for my work is Miroslav Dimitrov who is a graphic, 3D and motion designer. In the series Kukeri (2019) he recreates Bulgarian costumed men who are known for the tradition of performing rituals for scaring evil spirits.  Dimitrov has used 3D designs for these costumes and the details of the images are outstanding.  

To create a maquette was the initial idea for the work, and the most appropriate and challenging one.  I have used a combination of traditional symbols and my own memories in my work.  Driven by love, longing, and nostalgia, I greatly enjoyed the making process and grew impatient for the result.